Disappointing photos show what it's like to go to San Diego Comic-Con in real life

·3 min read
On the left: Cosplayers dressed as Moon Knight, Spider-Man, and Batgirl. On the right: Crowds outside San Diego Comic-Con 2022.
San Diego Comic-Con is a popular event, but it comes with challenges and frustrations.Daniel Knighton/Getty Images; Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
  • San Diego Comic-Con is one of the largest, most popular entertainment conventions.

  • While Insider's reporters enjoyed other parts of the convention, they found that it can be more frustrating than it looks on social media.

  • Fans have to wait in long lines, people sit on the floor, and navigating the Con can be a hassle.

Whether you were entering or exiting SDCC, you couldn't avoid crowds of people.

Large crowds at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.
SDCC takes place in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

This is how long a line was for fans to reach a COVID verification tent where you needed to acquire a wristband in order to attend the convention floor.

A long line of San Diego Comic-Con fans waiting on line to get COVID vaccine wristbands.
You couldn't enter the SDCC grounds unless you had a flimsy orange wristband verifying your proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Mandatory COVID wristbands that needed to be worn to enter the convention every day became flimsy, gross, and faded as the week continued.

Photos showing the San Diego Comic-Con wristband over the course of the four-day event.
The wristband over the course of the four-day event. We overheard attendees who complained of their wristbands disintegrating and coming off while showering.Olivia Singh/Insider

Fans had to circumvent train tracks that ran parallel to the convention center, which made it more difficult to get to different activities.

San Diego Comic-Con 2022
San Diego Comic-Con festivities are divided by a train track with limited options to cross.Olivia Singh/Insider

Foot traffic got congested by the entrances to the San Diego Convention Center.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 22: Fans line up to enter 2022 Comic-Con International Day 2 at San Diego Convention Center on July 22, 2022 in San Diego, California.
Attending SDCC requires a lot of patience.Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Once inside you had to navigate through even more clusters of people, with limited space to walk the floor.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 22: General view of the atmosphere at 2022 Comic-Con International Day 2 at San Diego Convention Center on July 22, 2022 in San Diego, California.
Funkoville was one of the most popular and crowded areas at SDCC.Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Attendees sat on the floor to catch a break before security guards inevitably walked by to tell them they weren't allowed to do that because it was a hazard.

SDCC 2022 sitting on the floor
By Sunday, people were sitting all over the convention center floor because there was barely any seating to be found for the thousands of guests who attended.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

Lines to get into popular activations were long and involved waiting for hours outdoors, with the hot sun beating down on fans.

A long line of fans waiting to get into the "Abbott Elementary" activation at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.
We waited two-and-a-half hours on Sunday to get into the "Abbott Elementary" activation.Olivia Singh/Insider

An endless line of attendees camped out for days, sleeping outdoors, in order to get into Marvel Studios' popular Saturday night panel at Hall H.

A long line of fans camped out to get into Hall H for Marvel's Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.
The line snaked behind the convention center, along the marina, to enter the hall which seats over 6,000 people.Olivia Singh/Insider

Follow along with Insider's San Diego Comic-Con coverage here.

If you received a ticket from a panel to receive swag, you had to make a 12-minute trek outside of the convention center to the back of a hotel to trade it inside an unsuspecting room.

Swag collection room at SDCC was really far away and not in the convention center.
Guests had to go to the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego Hotel, but many thought it was a different hotel. By the end of Sunday, the line to get in this room extended down the marina.Kirsten Acuna/Insider

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